Friday Favorites in Five

February 28, 2014

Happy Friday, y'all! This week has been nuts, and it's the last week of February, which is crazy to me! The south had some warm spring-like weather at the start of the week, then it turned winter again (grrr). I'm ready for spring. We had our snows...let the sun and flowers come back!

Anyway, here are my favorites for this week.

Favorite Drink
Favorite Screened Porch (the table...amazing)
Favorite Quote
Favorite Garden Space

Have a good weekend! If you need some more inspiration, check out my recent pins.

Marinated Pork Chops

February 26, 2014

I love a good steak. For some reason I've never been over the moon about pork chops though. I hear people talk of these incredibly juicy pork chops, and they sound fantastic. I always wonder why they don't offer me a left-over chop...it's kind of like dangling a carrot...except it's not a carrot, it's a deliciously juicy pork chop, which is 10 times better than any carrot I've ever had. I decided to experiment with some pork chop marinade one night, and it turned out to be delicious! 

You'll need an oven-safe skillet, such as a cast iron skillet, a plastic zip-top bag, aluminum foil, pork chops (obviously), and some seasonings.

For the seasonings...

Rosemary and Garlic infused Olive Oil, Wildtree Garlic & Herb Blend, Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt, and a little Black Pepper.

Now, to marinate...

Put the olive oil and seasonings in a plastic bag. In go the pork chops! I let it marinate for about 4-6 hours.

Once it was ready, I put the pork chops with a little extra olive oil from the bag into the skillet over medium-high heat.

I seared each side for a few minutes until it was nice and golden.

Then I put the pan in the oven to bake until it was cooked through.

Marinated Pork Chops
sweetandsimplelifeblog.com
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 Pork Chops
1/2 cup olive oil (1/4 c rosemary infused and 1/4 c garlic infused)
1 Tbsp Wildtree garlic and herb blend (or mix garlic powder, parsley, dill, dried basil, and chives)
1 tsp Jane's Krazy mixed-up salt
Black pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Combine olive oil and seasonings in a plastic bag. Place pork chops into the bag. Allow to marinate for 4-6 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of marinade to the skillet and sear pork chops on each side until slightly browned.

4. Place some foil loosely over the skillet and transfer to the oven to finish cooking. Cook for about 15-20 minutes. Time will depend on the thickness. Mine were about 3/4" thick.

Hope you enjoy!

Marinated Pork Chops was linked here. Check it out!

Blushing at its Best

February 24, 2014


There are basically three types of blush that I use: pressed powder, loose powder, and cream. All of them have their unique benefits depending on the look I want to achieve; however, there's not a strong argument for one over another so I usually buy blush based on what color I like (that's the designer in me...I enjoy colors).


Let's start with pressed powder because this is probably the most common type you'll find. It falls in a variety of price points making it accessible to everyone. There are also a pretty wide variety of colors to choose from, and they are available in different finishes - matte, slight shimmer, to full on glitter (which I've never been fond of, I don't want my cheeks to blind people when I walk outside). Moving on. I find that the pressed powder gives the most control while applying. It can be very subtle when done with a light hand or it can be built for a bold look. That also depends on the color you're starting with though, so test it out. I use a brush like the Sephora Angled Blush Brush to apply on the apples of my cheeks. First start with a stippling motion, then gently sweep to blend.

Loose powder is more often found in mineral makeup lines. I like how easy the powder is to pick up on the brush. You also have good control over the amount used since you're not typically placing the brush directly in the product. There is some selection in regard to color and finish, but not as much as the pressed powder. One benefit I see to using a loose powder is that the colors seem to be highly pigmented, meaning I don't need quite as much product. They blend well and are long lasting.

Cream blushes are somewhat new to me. I never tried them because they all look so richly pigmented that I was afraid it would make me look like a clown. And clowns scare me. Then one day I was browsing and thought to myself, "just try it already!" So I did, and I was wrong...it doesn't make me look like a clown. In fact, it's a very fresh and natural finish. I take a brush similar to this Real Techniques Stippling Brush dab it in the product, dab the brush on the back of my hand to remove any excess, then start in stippling motions on my cheeks. Depending on the coverage I'm looking for, I will sometimes go over my cheeks again using my finger to blend even more. I enjoy using cream blushes in the winter as my face tends to get dry. It helps retain moisture and the color stays put all day.

Overall, you can't really go wrong, it's just a personal preference and finding what you like.

Friday Favorites in Five

February 21, 2014

It's FRIDAY!!! I love this day. It's probably the best day...other than Saturday. It always has so much hope for what's to come (which is obviously the weekend...if you don't agree, we need to talk). In honor of this day, I'm going to start posting some favorites that I found throughout the week. Good idea? Yes, I think so. Be sure to also check out my most recent pins for more.

Apparently I'm into some bright colors on this Friday. It's probably because this is supposed to be one of the first nice, sunny weekends we've had in the southeast since, oh, last summer? Woo hoo!

Favorite Sweet
Favorite Color Combo
Favorite Lamps
Favorite Style

Happy Friday everyone! Leave a comment and let me know what your favorites have been this week. Have a wonderful weekend!

Facial Cleansers for Combination Skin

February 19, 2014

I'm trying to take better care of my skin. In my younger years, I would maybe wash my face in the morning and I would maybe wash the makeup off at night. Now I make a point to wash it both morning and night because it really is an important step in skincare. Not only does it remove dead skin cells and cleanse the skin of oil build up, but it provides a fresh base for facial products and makeup.

So let's talk about some facial cleansers. I have combination skin, and because of that I like to switch up my routine to address different skin issues that I have. Here are some of my favorite facial cleansers that I use regularly.

Blemish Fighting:
Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser has salicylic acid, which is a common ingredient found in blemish fighting products. Salicylic acid helps to dissolve skin cell bonding agents, which results in a drying effect. If you use something with saliciylic acid be sure to moisturize well afterwards. I tend to use this more often in the morning.

Radiant Skin:
Aveeno Positively Radiant Facial Cleanser is a gentle formula that gives my skin a rest, and it contains multiple ingredients to give skin a brighter appearance. It has a light, fresh scent and cleanses without being harsh. Another thing that I really like about Aveeno is that their products contain natural ingredients. When I use this product at the end of the day I usually do a quick cleanse to remove makeup (or use a cleansing facial wipe) then use this a second time with my Clarisonic.

All In One:
On the higher-priced end of the spectrum, I love Philosophy Purity Made Simple. I didn't want to like it because of the price tag, but it is honestly one of my favorites. It is said to be a one step product, meaning that it removes dirt and makeup while it cleanses the pores. This too has some natural ingredients such as sage, chamomile, and carrot. It truly does what it says and my skin feels amazingly clean afterwards.

Anti-Aging:
The Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser is something I decided to try on a whim and recently added it to the rotation. I love that it lathers easily because for some reason it makes me feel like it's working. *I feel the same way about shampoo...don't ask. I only use this 2-3 times a week due to the exfoliating properties of the glycolic acid, which helps to break down the skin's surface, reduce discoloration, and minimize pores.

Do you switch things up or do you keep things tried and true with one cleanser?

Life Lessons: Trust

February 17, 2014

I've been doing a devotional study this month, and find that it has been such a positive start to each day. I wanted to share a little recent life lesson. Funny that whatever it is I'm dealing with, I go to my devotional and it is exactly what I needed to read.


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." That's a pretty tall order, right? Well, that is what I'm trying to do. Rather than a 'resolution' (let's be honest, I rarely keep them) I decided to choose a verse to live by. Something that would challenge me daily. Since I tend to be a control freak with my life, and I tend to over-analyze everything coming and going, I wanted to learn to lean on the Lord more. After all, He tells us to in Proverbs 3:5. That means even when we don't know why or how. Trust in Him. That hit me pretty hard. Especially when I turned to the daily reading in My Utmost for His Highest devotional and it said this:
Have you ever said to yourself, "I am impressed with the wonderful truths of God's Word, but He can't really expect me to live up to that and work all those details into my life!" ... We think His ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in touch with reality - that what He says cannot actually be done. Each of us thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. These doubts or misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus away from God. While we talk of our dealings with Him, others ask us, "Where are you going to get enough money to live? How will you live and who will take care of you?" Or our misgivings begin within ourselves when we tell Jesus that our circumstances are just a little too difficult for Him. We say, "It's easy to say, 'Trust in the Lord,' but a person has to live; and besides, Jesus has nothing with which to draw water - no means to be able to give us these things." And beware of exhibiting religious deceit by saying, "Oh, I have no misgivings about Jesus, only misgivings about myself." If we are honest, we will admit that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, becauses we know exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we can't.
WOW! I was completely stunned. I certainly don't mean to doubt, but there are times that I do! I tend to think that I have a better handle on a situation because I'm living it, I know what I can or can't do, and I'll figure it out along the way. What I unintentionally do is forget that God has this grand master plan for me and my life. He already has it figured out before I even question it. He already has a solution before I even know there's a problem.

So, life lesson for the day, trust in the Lord.

Valentine's Day Decor

February 14, 2014

Hearts are cute and all, but to decorate with them sometimes gets tricky. It can easily go overboard and become cheesy! I found a few sweet, handmade banners that are just right.

If you're having a little get-together for Valentine's Day check these out. Enjoy!

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Wish List...

The cold weather makes me want to go on a shopping spree...with a never ending budget of course! Why the cold = shopping in my mind I have no idea. Maybe it's a little spring fever?

So, here's my wish list. Lots of bright colors that make me think of easy summer nights at the beach. :) Happy shopping!

Jeans  /  Blouse  /  Flats  /  Necklace  /  Watch

For Your Valentine

February 10, 2014

I hope that everyone is ready for Valentine's Day, but if you're still trying to put together your wish list...take a look at these goodies. Personally, my eye is on the DOT by Mark Jacobs perfume. It smells amazing!!! I don't know how to even describe it. It's fresh, but still comforting. It's the perfect mix of scents.
Hope you have a fantastic Valentine's Day, and that you are able to spend it with someone special.

C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve

February 7, 2014

Happy Friday! Today, I'm excited to talk about this Rose Salve from C.O. Bigelow, a company that has been around since 1838. They have a pretty cool story. Check it out on their website.


I have always struggled with dry, chapped lips. Sometimes it does't matter how much exfoliating or moisturizing I do, they'll still go through a rough patch (no pun intended). I've tried dozens of lip balms, but this is by far my favorite. It has a very faint rosey scent, yet it's subtle enough that you barely notice it once applied. The consistency is smooth and not greesy at all.

I primarily use this as a lip balm. I apply it with the tip of my ring finger and smooth over my lips. It provides a beautiful sheen without an over-the-top gloss. It looks pink in the pot, and when it goes on there is a very slight rosey glow, but barely noticable. I find that it lasts a pretty long time. I usually have to reapply every few hours.

This has been the only product that I've found to actually heal my lips. If they're severely chapped, I exfoliate with a gentle scrub, clean my lips, then use the salve. Voila!

Another thing I use this for is a cuticle oil - just dab a little on each cuticle, and rub it in. It helps keep them looking soft and prevents damage.

If you're in the market for a new lip balm, definitely look into this salve. It can be found at Bath & Body Works or on the C.O. Bigelow website.

Creating a Custom "Pin It" Button

February 5, 2014

In today's tutorial I'll be showing you how I made my own "Pin It" button. There are probably several ways to do this, and this may not be the best, but it's how I did it. The program used was Photoshop. I've used this program for several years in my design profession. If you're still learning, please do not be intimidated. I think this is a pretty simple process, it just may take some trial and error to get the hang of it.
1. Save this icon to your computer (I named this file "P"). It is a .png file meaning that it will maintain its transparent background.

2. In Photoshop, select File/New. It should bring up a window that looks like this:


Be sure to change the Background Contents to Transparent. I chose to make the button at 50 x 50 pixels and 72 pixels/inch (I named the file "Pin-It Button").

3. Once the new file is open, select a color for your background. This color will be the circle of the button itself. Choose the Ellipse Tool. To ensure a "perfect" circle I always hold the shift button while drawing. This will constrain the proportions. You want to make sure that the circle's edges stay within the 50 x 50 pixel square. Otherwise you'll end up with some flat spots!

4. Now open your "P" icon file in Photoshop. Once that is open, go to Image/Adjustments/Invert (or Ctrl+I). This makes the icon white.

5. You should now have two file windows open in Photoshop (the "Pin-It Button" and the "P"). While working in the "P" window, use the Layers box. Select the "P" icon layer and drag it into your "Pin-It Button" window. This will automatically create a new layer in this file. You'll need to resize the "P" until it fits within the circle.  

If you want to get fancy, you can add some effects. I decided to add a drop shadow because it needed a little more separation from the green background color. You can be as creative with this step as you want!

After you have played with it and made it your own, you need to save the file as a .png. This keeps the background transparent. Now it's ready to load into your blog's HTML. For that tutorial, click here.

I hope this helps!


Adding a Custom "Pin It" Button

February 4, 2014


This is a step-by-step tutorial for adding a "Pin It" button to your blog on Blogger. I used this on the simple template. Before starting this process make sure you backup your Blogger template first.


Backup your template
1. In the dashboard, select Template.
2. Select to Backup/Restore.
3. Select the Download Full Template button.
4. Choose your location to save the file, then select Save.

Adding the "Pin It" button
1. In the dashboard, select Template.
2. Select Edit HTML.
3. Scroll down, close to the bottom, and find this: </body>
Copy this code provided by BloggerSentral and paste into the template code right below the </body> code. It should look something like this:
<script>
//<![CDATA[
var bs_pinButtonURL = "http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-y3xzTGiGzH0/UK4XOaUpdaI/AAAAAAAADw8/Z1MH4Jr4Efo/s1600/pinterestx1_72.png";
var bs_pinButtonPos = "center";
var bs_pinPrefix = "";
var bs_pinSuffix = "";
//]]>
</script>
<script src='http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.8.2/jquery.min.js' type='text/javascript'></script>
<script id='bs_pinOnHover' src='http://greenlava-code.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/publicscripts/bs_pinOnHoverv1_min.js' type='text/javascript'>
// This Pinterest Hover Button is brought to you by bloggersentral.com.
// Visit http://www.bloggersentral.com/2012/11/pinterest-pin-it-button-on-image-hover.html for details.
// Feel free to use and share, but please keep this notice intact.
</script>
This code is set to automatically place the button in the center of your image. To reposition the button, just replace the text center with toplefttoprightbottomleft, or bottomright.

4. Select the Save Template button.
5. Select to Close.
6. Select View Blog and hover over a picture in your post. The button should appear.

If you like this, you can keep the original button. If you're anything like me, you may want to customize it to match the theme of your blog!

Find the image you want to use, or create your own. You'll need to have an HTML link to your image. Now, I am by no means an HTML expert. So...this was how I found a way around that.

Go to your Blogger dashboard and select New Post. It will automatically be in the Compose mode (top left). Leave it like this for now. Select to Insert Image into the post. Pretty, right? Ok...now select HTML. It should jumble your image into a code like this:
<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
</div>
<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
<img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dbjWjkUhMRE/Uu_ZETy4jOI/AAAAAAAABIA/XSn5oumSoq8/s1600/50x50PinIT.png" /></div>
<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
</div>
It makes no sense to me; however, there is a source for the image (highlighted above). That's really all you'll need. Just copy that string of text, and save the post as a draft in case you need it in the future. I chose to title my post with "DO NOT PUBLISH" so I wouldn't accidentally publish it to my blog.

Adding the custom button
1. Select Template in your dashboard.
2. Select the Edit HTML button.
3. Find this code: var bs_pinButtonURL = "http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-y3xzTGiGzH0/UK4XOaUpdaI/AAAAAAAADw8/Z1MH4Jr4Efo/s1600/pinterestx1_72.png"; and replace it with your new image code.
6. Select to Save Template.
7. Select Close.

Now you'll want to view your blog and make sure it worked! *Fingers crossed

I know this looks like a lot of steps, but it's really pretty simple. It's just making sure that you have the codes pasted in the right spot. For me, it took some time to find the </body> text and I had to play with inserting the code a few times. Once I got that figured out, it didn't take any time at all to get the custom image in place. For anyone that doesn't have much experience wiht HTML (um, can we say confusing?), my suggestion is to just take your time. It's easy to get overwhelmed, but trust me, if I can figure it out so can you.